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R160A (New York City Subway car)

R160 (New York City Subway car)
104th Street
IND Eighth Avenue Line.
In service 2006-present
Manufacturer Alstom, Kawasaki Heavy Industries
Replaced many R32s, all R38s, all R40s, all R40As, many R42s, and many R44s
Constructed 2005-2010
Entered service 2006-2010
Number in service 1,662 (1,438 in revenue service during rush hours)
Formation 93 four-car sets (two B cars)
258 five-car sets (three B cars)
Fleet numbers R160A
Base Order: 8313-8712
First Option Order: 9233-9592
Second Option Order: 9593-9802; 9943-9974

Base Order: 8713-8972
First Option Order: 8973-9232
Second Option Order: 9803-9942
Capacity 42 seating 198 standing (A car)
44 seating 202 standing (B car)
Operator New York City Subway
Depot(s) Coney Island Yard
East New York Yard
Jamaica Yard
Service(s) assigned

4 Car Sets:
Template:NYCS const

5 Car Sets:
Template:NYCS const
Car body construction Stainless steel with fiberglass ends and rear bonnets
Car length 60.21 feet (18.35 m)
Width 9.77 feet (2,978 mm)
Height 12.13 feet (3,697 mm)
Floor height 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Platform height 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Entry 3.76 ft (1.15 m)
Doors 8 per car
Maximum speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Weight 85,200 lb (38,600 kg)
Traction system Alstom Onix AC traction model: 4LCA1640A (8313-8842, 9103-9974)
Siemens SITRAC AC traction motor (cars 8843-9102)
Power output 147.5 hp (110 kW) to
150 hp (112 kW) per axle
All axles motorized[1][2]
Acceleration 2.5 mph/s (4.0 km/(h·s))
Deceleration 2.5 mph/s (4.0 km/(h·s))
(full service),
3.2 mph/s (5.1 km/(h·s))
Auxiliaries SAFT 250AH battery (B car)
Electric system(s) 600 V DC Third rail
Current collection method Contact shoe
Braking system(s) Dynamic braking propulsion system; WABCO RT-5 tread brake system
Safety system(s) Dead Man's Handle, Signal-based Tripcock System
Track gauge

The R160 is a class of 1,662 New York City Subway cars built by two different companies: Alstom Transportation and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The class was built by two manufacturers, so they are designated as "R160A" (Alstom) and "R160B" (Kawasaki). However, since the two car types are almost identical, they can be discussed collectively.


The R160A base order was part of a $961,687,121 contract funded in part by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The R160 is designed to operate on the New York City Transit Authority's lettered lines (B Division), and intended to replace older subway cars. Some of these older subway cars have been in service since 1964. The primary base order of the R160 class consisted of 660 cars, 400 R160As to be built by Alstom, and the remaining 260 R160Bs to be built by Kawasaki. The contract included options for further orders, which, if exercised, would have brought total business with NYCT to about US$2.4 billion, for 1,700 subway cars, and Kawasaki would have manufactured 40% (680 cars) of the 1,700 cars. The R160 fleet was purchased at an average cost of $1.28 million USD per car.

R160 cars are configured in either 4 or 5 car sets. 372 R160A cars are configured as 4-car sets and operate on the BMT Eastern Division (J, L, M, and Z services) lines because the platform lengths where these services operate cannot accommodate longer trains. The remaining 630 R160A cars are configured as five-car sets for use on IND and BMT main line services. All R160B cars are configured in 5 car sets.

Kawasaki and Alstom organized a joint venture for project management, engineering and equipment purchasing to pursue the contract. The two companies built and delivered the rolling stock through the joint venture. Kawasaki not only manufactured 260 cars for the base contract, but was also the engineering leader for the whole project and provided the trucks for all cars.

Alstom assembled 1,002 R160A cars at its manufacturing plant in Hornell, New York, while Kawasaki assembled 660 R160B cars at its plant in Yonkers, New York.[3] Shells for the Alstom-built cars were built in their Lapa plant, and shells for the Kawasaki-built cars were built in their Lincoln, Nebraska plant.

The R160s replaced the entirety of the R38s, R40s and R40As as well as the NYCS R44s. They also replaced many of the R32s and R42s.


The R160 subway cars are equipped with the latest control system, HVAC and public address system to guarantee the utmost safety and passenger comfort.

One of the major changes and highlights of the new cars is the addition of an electronic "FIND" (Flexible Information and Notice Display) system, which includes an LCD screen displaying the route, route information and advertisements, and a tri-color (red, yellow, green) LED strip map which displays the next ten stations, plus five consecutive "further stops" to riders. There are three of these in every car. The display updates the stations at every stop, also giving the number of stops to each station listed, and replaces a plastic card which had a set route and stations printed on, which was used on the R142, R142A/S, and R143 cars. This allows for instant route or line changes with the correct information, which includes, but is not limited to, omitting of certain stops.

Both the R160As and R160Bs come with provisions for the future installation for CBTC. However, only 64 R160As (8313-8376) have been retrofitted with CBTC equipment for operation on the L service alongside trains of CBTC equipped R143 cars.[4]


Between the R160A and R160B cars

While the two models are almost identical to each other, there are some slight differences between the two car models.

  • The R160Bs' door window rims are glossier than those on the R160A.
  • With the exception of the first few cars delivered, All later R160As and R160Bs feature thin metal plates around all side windows.
  • The R160A doors emit a noticeable whirring sound when they open and close while the R160B doors are silent. This is because the R160As use Vapor door motors while R160Bs use Fuji door motors.
  • All R160A traction motors were constructed by Alstom while the R160Bs are split between Alstom traction motors and Siemens traction motors (400 Alstom cars and 260 Siemens cars). These two brands of traction motors have noticeably different sounds. Alstom propulsion (cars 8313-8842, 9103-9974) has stepped sounds while Siemens propulsion (cars 8843-9102) has a smoother, rolling sound. All three sets of cars (R160A, R160B Alstom, and R160B Siemens) are interoperable.[5]

Between the R143 and R160 cars

The R160s are almost identical to the R143s. However, there are differences between the two car models:

  • The R143s have standard plastic card route maps and LED advertisements while R160s have the FIND system and Arts for Transit cards.
  • The American flag on the ends of the A-unit cars is placed above the MTA New York City Subway logo on the R160s, but below it on the R143s.
  • The R143s have Bombardier traction motors while most R160s have Alstom traction motors.
  • The R143s have single storm doors at the blind ends, while the R160s have double storm doors at the blind ends.
  • The taillights on the R143s use incandescent bulbs with reflectors while the R160 taillights use LEDs with their characteristic dot-matrix look.
  • The rim around the interior LED lights are black on the R160s and white on the R143s.
  • The LED side signs are a smaller font on R143s than they are on R160s.

Delivery and train assignments

As of June 2013, R160A cars #8313-8652 and #9943-9974 are maintained at East New York Yard and run in service on the J, L, M, and Z trains, while R160A cars #8653-8712 are maintained at the Coney Island Yard and are assigned to the Q train. R160A cars #9233-9802 are maintained at Jamaica Yard and run in service on the E, F and R trains.

The R160Bs are numbered #8713-9232 and #9803-9942. Cars #8713-9192 are currently maintained at the Coney Island Yard and run on the N, Q and R trains. Cars #9193-9232 and #9803-9942 run on the E and are maintained at Jamaica Yard.

On November 10, 2008, the MTA exercised options for 140 R160B cars (#9803-9942), and 242 R160A cars, broken down into 32 cars arranged as 4-car sets (9943-9974) and 210 cars arranged in 5-car sets (#9593-9802). These cars all feature Alstom traction.[6] As of June 2010, all R160 cars are in active revenue service.


Early on in the order, Alstom encountered significant start-up production problems since being awarded the base contract. In July 2005, Alstom missed its contractual deadline to deliver a 10-car test train, which arrived five months late in December, to the New York City Transit Authority. Alstom requested three additional months to deliver the test train. In addition, the Transit Authority rejected several car shells made at their plant in Lapa, Brazil, near São Paulo, after discovering welding defects.[7]

Early on in the order, Alstom was also behind on its delivery schedule. Alstom was to have delivered 200 out of the 400 car base order by September 2007. However, by that month, Alstom had only delivered 80 cars.[8] Under the base contract, Alstom agreed to pay damages of $800 a day for late deliveries of four-car trains, and $1,000 a day for five-car trains. However, the Transit Authority had not yet fined Alstom for its late deliveries and was negotiating with Alstom to accelerate their delivery schedule. The 200 cars were delivered 7 months late in early April.

See also


External links

  • R160 cars
  • New York City Subway Car Datasheet
  • Template:NYCS const
  • National Geographic video about Alstom’s manufacturing of the R160A car

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